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DMR finalizes upcoming scallop season

The Quoddy Tides of Eastport, Maine

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The scallop season set by the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) will open the fishery for draggers in eastern Maine two weeks before the opening date for western Maine. Many fishermen in Washington County had opposed the delay in opening the waters in the western part of the state, as boats based there may come Downeast to fish in Cobscook Bay during those two weeks. In the past, large numbers of draggers from western ports have created a derby fishery in the bay, quickly depleting the resource.

Zone 3, which includes the Cobscook Bay area, will have a 50-day season with a 10-gallon daily limit — the same as last year — with a December 1 start. The open days will be on Mondays and Tuesdays, with limited access areas open on Wednesdays, from December 1 through March 22. Area fishermen favored the three-day week instead of a proposal by western Maine fishermen for a four-day week, as they feared the longer week would make it more likely for fishermen from other areas to bring their boats to Cobscook Bay.

Zone 2, which covers eastern Maine except for the Cobscook Bay area, will have a 70-day season with a 15-gallon daily limit — the same as last year — with a December 1 start. Targeted closures will be in Moosabec Reach, Jonesport, and the Inner Harbor/Deep Hole, Deer Isle. The seven open rotational areas this season include: Machias area; Wohoa/Western Bay; Gouldsboro/Dyer Bay; Upper Blue Hill Bay/Union River; Lower Jericho Bay; Eggemoggin Reach/Southeast Harbor; Lower Penobscot Bay and outer islands.

Zone 1 in western Maine will have a 60-day season, which is a 10-day reduction from last year, with a December 15 start for draggers and a December 1 start for divers. There will be a 15-gallon daily limit and the following targeted closures: South Portland Harbor, Lower Broad Sound in Casco Bay, Eastern Casco Bay, Sheepscot River, Ocean Point, Dama-riscotta River, Muscongus Bay, Lower Muscle Ridge and Muscle Ridge, which will be open two days a week.

The DMR Advisory Council unanimously voted to finalize the season on October 20. Based on public comment, the department made the following changes to the proposed regulation: addition of the Inner Harbor/Deep Hole targeted closure in the Deer Isle area; minor changes to the boundaries of the Lower Jericho Bay, Lower Blue Hill Bay/Jericho Bay and East Isle Au Haut rotational areas; removal of the reference to survey language for the implementation of targeted closures; and moving of two Saturday limited access area days from the Zone 1 dive schedule from January to Wednesdays in March.

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Original Publication Date: October 23, 2015

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